The Gabbait of the Kotel’s Reaction to My Post

The Gabbait of the Kotel’s Reaction to My Post

This morning at pilates class I saw Aviva for the first time since I posted about her. For those of you who missed it, last Friday I wrote about how this Yemenite woman in her 60s goes to the Kotel every weekday at 3 AM, and has been doing so for 30 years. The other women who come to the Kotel even nicknamed her the Gabbait of the Kotel.

When I saw her I remembered that she had never seen the post, and I thought how I should show her.
But then I reconsidered. Last week she’s told me, “Don’t write about me! I don’t want publicity! There is nothing special about me! There are hundreds of people like me who come to the Kotel every night to pray for Am Yisrael. Why davka write about me?”
But then I reconsidered my reconsideration. Maybe it would really make her day?
And then, I found myself walking over to her, like the matter wasn’t in my hands. And I scrolled to the post, and as Aviva tied her shoes I bent over to her and said, “Aviva, do you remember we spoke last week? I wrote up your story, and it reached so many women around the world and you gave them so much chizuk!”
Aviva, as you can imagine from her nightly Kotel outings, is from a different generation. She knows only a few words of English. She’s quite likely never seen Facebook. She only got a smartphone when her children bought her one so she could enjoy the photos of her many grandchildren in the family whatsapp group.
So when I held out my phone to her with a post written in English, she looked at it like it was a scroll penned in Chinese.
But I pointed to the bottom of the post and said, “Look how many women liked your story! Look how many shared it with other women!”
And then, as I waited nervously for a reaction, she suddenly smiled, bigger than I’d ever seen her smile. And tears came to her eyes.
“You know,” she looked up at me with a bashful look, “they call me the Gabbait of the Kotel.”
“I know, I wrote it here! And the women say that when Moshiach comes, you will be there to put out chairs for him and all the women who come to greet him!”
“Yes, that’s what they say…”
What a gift. To enable Aviva to see herself.
Each of us needs somebody like that, to hold up a mirror and say, “This is what I see when I see you. I wish you would be able to see it too.”

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